Archaeologists have discovered a 1,200-year-old ritual complex built by the Wari empire at the Pakaytambo site in southern Peru.
The complex has a D-shaped temple on a large, monumental platform next to housing structures for officials and people linked to the Wari empire. The location was strategically chosen, being between the Andean highlands and coastal valleys of Arequipa and along a prehistoric transit route with ecological and political advantages.
The Wari people developed a civilization and controlled much of present-day Peru through a linked series of complex, major centers between the 6th and 10th century, several hundred years before the rise of the Incan Empire.
In addition to the expansion of trade routes and direct force, the Wari brought people into its empire through shared belief and religious practices.
“Open plaza spaces associated with the temple complex at Pakaytambo would have allowed local communities to participate in ritual gatherings organized by the Wari,” University of Illinois Chicago postdoctoral researcher David Reid said in a statement.
Reid, who also led the study, also said these ritual events “would have been critical in maintaining political authority across great distances of the Wari Empire”.
This discovery follows other D-shaped Wari temples that have recently been found across Peru, providing greater clarity on how the empire expanded and influenced life across the country.
The research was published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. News of the discovery was first reported by the Art Newspaper.